Bribing a teenager to stop/ not take up smoking.

(13 Posts)
havenlady Tue 25-Jun-13 13:20:54

My DS (17) is probably smoking, but denies it. I have found filters and an empty tobacco packet in the past. DH had a good chat with him, and he also then said he wasn't. Today he is off college and declared he was going "for a walk". We live in the middle of nowhere and he has never been a fan of nature. So I assume he wanted a fag.
We have a fairly good relationship, so have had a good chat about dangers and drawbacks of smoking (again). DH father died aged 48 from heart disease prob caused by smoking.
On the spur of the moment I have offered him a bribe of a couple of hundred quid if he is does not take up / quits smoking by his 19th birthday. DH and I had discussed this but he thinks it is a bad idea. So I have told DS that it is between me and him only. The deal is that he has to agree to me checking his bag on random occasions (with him there).
It probably won't make any difference, but I would be interested in anyone else' experience of doing this.

Floralnomad Tue 25-Jun-13 13:25:51

I think you are wasting you're time and money . I'm not sure what the answer is though , my 20 yr old son has never shown any interest in smoking ,but also doesn't drink ( doesn't like it and drives) but is basically too mean to spend money on things to burn ( thankfully).

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Tue 25-Jun-13 13:27:57

It won't help.

He'll just do it in secret.

Unless you are proposing to get these and test him randomly.

He denies he is smoking. What makes you think that he won't just hide them elsewhere?

I was a secret smoker for years. I unpicked the lining of my bag and kept my fags in there. Also tucked behind the sink in the bathroom. And loads of other places.

Also, it's a really bad idea to go behind his dad's back. You need to be in this together.

Plus, he's 17. For how long can you do this? You can't control this. If he wants to smoke, he's almost an adult. (despite acting like a child in denying it!)

He'll actually end up resenting you.

Far better to say look, I know you are smoking. It can kill. If you want to stop, I will help you.

slug Tue 25-Jun-13 14:54:15

Does he get pocket money? I would withdraw it on the basis of if he is intent on endangering his health then you, as a parent, would be remiss in enabling him.

Turniptwirl Tue 25-Jun-13 17:18:48

If you think he's lying now why would he be more truthful if there's money in it for him to lie?

specialsubject Tue 25-Jun-13 17:27:17

don't waste your money. And I agree - stop the pocket money; if he wants to stink and shorten his life, let him pay for it.

livinginwonderland Tue 25-Jun-13 17:44:34

Stupid idea, honestly. You can ban smoking in the house but if he wants to get a job and spend his money on cigarettes there's not a huge amount you can do to stop him.

tumbletumble Tue 25-Jun-13 17:52:08

My friend's parents offered to buy her a car for her 18th birthday (2nd hand obvs) if she didn't smoke before then. It worked!

SconeRhymesWithGone Tue 25-Jun-13 17:52:39

Not sure in your case, but my stepfather (who later died of smoking related causes) promised each of his grandchildren, which included my two, $1000 when they turned 21 if they had not smoked. They all made it and none are smokers today.

havenlady Tue 25-Jun-13 18:58:23

I am going to dock his allowance if he does smoke, and he knows that.

Probably did a stupid thing, then. It is so bloody hard at times!

Bribery is pointless...I say this as a teen who smoked, and an adult who smoked (and secretly for years)

If he wants to smoke he will..it's highly addictive.
However you don't have to pay for it..so if you are giving him an allowance they you can at least lessen the money for fags unless he has a job!

My Ds1 started at 15 despite everything I said ..I really tried to warn my children off them knowing how hard it was for me to stop. To no avail.

Finally he has given up (he's 20 now) because... drum roll.... his girlfriend of 6 months wouldn't let him anywhere near her smelling of fags!! RESULT!!!!

savoirfaire Tue 25-Jun-13 23:36:31

I think it may be a little late for this. I had a very good friend at school who's parents did this with her and it worked brilliantly. However, it was set out when she was 14. She was told £500 if she had not smoked by 18 (yonks ago - was a serious lot of money). She is one of the few people I know who didn't smoke during the 6th form years (I was in that sort of group). Her father paid out on her 18th birthday. She could have started smoking after that I s'pose but she didn't, I guess because she'd educated herself about why the plan her parents had was a good thing. I kind of thing you may have missed the boat tbh.

I smoked from 16-24ish and then stopped because essentially I'm a bit of a goody-two-shoes paranoic and was a) concerned about health and b) concerned about money. My parents always told me they would be devastated if I smoked. To this day they don't "officially" know that I ever did (15 years+ later). I used to smoke in the car on the way home from college and - I now realise - they MUST have been able to smell it on me. So I'm not sure if they were naive or just chose to ignore it.

Might be worth having a chat with him that you suspect he might be, or has friend that do, talk about why you don't thing he should and that he needs to make a choice. If he makes the choice not to smoke then you would do [insert reward of choice here - £500 on 21st birthday might be an option]? I'd treat him with some maturity and consider acknowledging that he has already been smoking though.

flow4 Wed 26-Jun-13 00:10:12

I think it's too late, I'm afraid. But it worked for me: my dad offered me a bribe not to smoke before I was 18, and I didn't. smile

I have consequently done the same with my boys. Unfortunately, I'm poorer than my parents were, so my bribe to them was not as large and tempting! It did not work with my DS1, who started at 12 apparently (tho he was 14 before I knew). DS2 is keen on the idea, and anti-smoking, but he is still only 13, so who knows if it'll work in the long run...

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